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Full text of "The haunted house, a true ghost story [microform] : being an account of the mysterious manifestations that have taken place in the presence of Esther Cox, the young girl who is possessed of devils, and has become known throughout the entire Dominion as the great Amherst mystery"

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THE 



•^HAUNTED HOUSE: 



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«ei«» au mvimnt uJ {Im> MyHtirloiiM MaiilfoNlalloiiH that liavo taken 

Vhu'f In the iircHi'iiee of 



ESTHER COX, 



The y«,n,g <;irl nho Is po!,se.^«eiI ot Devils, aiul has l>eeoMie known 
throushont the entire Oiinilnion tin 



THE GREAT AMHERST MYSTERY, 



BY 



^WwA-LTEK laiXJEBELZL. 



THE AUTHOE LIVED IN THE HOUSE AND WITNESSED THE WONDEEFUL 

MANIFESTATIONS. v^^^^ixi uu 



SAINT JOHN, N. B. : 

DAILY NEWH" HTEAM PUBLLSHINO OFFICE, i'ANTKRBUUY .STREET 

1870. 



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INTRODUCTION. 

The manifestations described in this story coninienced 
one year ago. No person has yet been able to ascertain 
their cause. Scientific men from all parts of Canada and the 
United States have investigated them in vain. Some people 
think that electiicity is the principal agent ; others, mesmer- 
ism ; whilst others again, are sure they are produced by the 
devil. Of the three supposed causes, the latter is certainly 
the most plausible theory, for some of the manifestations 
are remarkably devilish in their appearance and effect. For 
instance, the mysterious setting of fires, the powerful shak- 
ing of the house, the loud and incessant noises and distinct 
knocking, as if made by invisible sledge-hammers, on the 
walls ; also, the strange actions of the household furniture, 
which moves about in the broad daylight without the slight- 
est visible cause. * 

As these strange things only occur while Miss Esther Cox 
is present, she has become known as the "Amherst Mystery" 
throughout the entire country. 

The author of this work lived for six weeks in the 
haunted house, and considers it his duty to place the entire 
matter before the public in its true light, having been re- 
quested to do so by the family of Miss Cox. 



a 



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The ffAUNTEO ff 



OUSE, 



CHAPTER I. 



THE HOME OF ESTHER (JOX. 

Amherst, Nova Scotia, is r beautiful little village on the 
famous Bay of Fundy; has a population of about three 
thousand souls, and contains four churches, an academy, a 
music hall, a large iron foundry, a large shoe factory, and 
more stores of various kinds than any village of its size, 
in the Province. 

The private residences of the more wealthy inhabitants 
are very picturesque in their appearance, being surrounded 
by beautifully laid out lawns, containing ornamental trees 
of various kinds and numerous ])eds of flowers of choice 
and sometimes very rare varieties. 

The residences of Parson Townsend, Mr. Robb, Doctor 
Nathan Tupper, and Mr. G. G. Bird, proprietor of the Am- 
herst book store ; also that of Mr. Amos Purdy, the village 
Post Master, and others too numerous to mention, are sure 

to atti'act the visitor's attention and conunand his admira- 
tion. 

On Princess street, near Church, there stands a neat two 

story cottage, painted yellow. It has in front a small yard, 

which extends back to the stable. The tidy appearance of 

the cottage and its pleasant situation, are sure to attract a 

stranger's attention. Upon entering the house everything 

is found to be so tastefully arrnnged, so scrupulously clean, 

and so comfortable, that the visitor feels at home in a 

moment, being confident that everything is looked after by 

a thriftv housewife. 



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6 



THE HOME OF KSTHEU COX. 



The first floor consists of four rooms, a. parlor containing 
a large bay window, filled with beautiful geraniums of 
every imaginable color and variety, is the first to attract 
attention ; then the dining room, with its old fashioned 
clock, its numerous home made rugs, easy chairs, and com- 
modious table, makes one feel like dining, especially if the 
hour is near twelve; for about that time of day savoiN' 
odors are sure to issue from the adjoining kitchen. Tlu- 
kitchen is all that a room of the kind in a village cottage 
should be, is not very large, and contains an ordinary 
wood stove, a large pine table, and a small washstand, has 
a door opening into the side yard near the stable, and 
another into the wash shed, besides the one connecting it 
with the dining room, making three doors in all, and one 
window. The fourth room is very small, ana is used as 
a sewing room ; it adjoins the dining room, and the parlor, 
and has a door opening into each. Besides the four rooms 
on the first floor, there is a large pantiy, having a small 
window about four feet from the floor, the door of this 
pantry opens into the dining room. Such is the arrange- 
ment of the first floor. 

Upon ascending a short flight of stairs, and turning to 
the left, you find yourself in the second story of the cot- 
tage, which consists of an entry and four small bed rooms, 
all opening into the entry. Each one of the rooms has one 
window, and only one door. Two of these little bed rooms 
face towards the street, and the other two towards the back 
of the cottage. They, like the rest of the house, are con- 
spicuous for their neat, cosy aspect, being papered and paint- 
ed, and furnished with ordinary cottage furniture. In fact^ 
everything about the little cottage will impress a casual 
observer with the fact that its inmates are happy, and 
evidently at peace with God and man. 

This humble cottage is the home of Daniel Teed, shoe- 



THE HOME OF ESTHER COX. T 

maker. Everybody knows and respects honest hard work- 
ing Dan, who never owes a dollar if he can help it, and 
never allows his family to want foi* any comfort that can 
he procured, with his hard earned salary as foreman of the 
Amherst Shoe Factory. 

Dan's family consists of his wife Olive, as good a soul as 
'^ver live<l, always hai'd at work. From early morning 
until dusky eve she is on her feet. It has always been 
a matter of gossip and astonishment, among the neighbors, 
as to how little Mrs. Teed, for she is by no means what you 
would call a large woman, could work so incessantly with- 
out becoming weary and resting for an hour or so after 
dinner. But she works on all the same, never rests, and 
they still look on her with astonishment. Dan and Olive 
have two little boys. Willie, the eldest, is Jive years old ; lie 
is a strong, healthy looking lad, with a ruddy complexion, 
>blue eyes, and brown curly hair ; his principal amusements 
a,re throwing stones, chasing the chickens, and hurthig his 
'little brother. George, the youngest of Dan's boys, is the 
finest boy of his age in the village and is only a little over 
a. year old ; his merry little laugh, winning ways, and cunning 
•actions to attract attention have made him a favorite with 
all who visit at the cottage. 

Besides his wite and two little boys, Dan has under his 
lionest roof and protection his wife's two sisters, — Jane and 
Esther Cox — who board with him. Jane is a lady-like, 
«elf-possessed young woman of about twenty-two, 
and is quite a beauty ; her hair is very light brown 
and reaches below her waist when she allows it to fall in 
graceful tresses — at other times she wears it in the Grecian 
style ; her eyes are of a greyish hue ; a clear complexion and 
handsome teeth add to her fine appearance. In fact, Jane 
Cox is one of the village belles, and has hosts of admirers, 
not of the male sex alone, for she is also popular among the 



8 



THE HOMK OF ESTHER (.'OX. 



larlics; she is a member and regular attendant of Pari^on Town- 
Kend'a Church, which, by the way, the good Parson hat* 
had under his care for about forty-Hve years. Estlier 
Cox, Dan's otli-r sister in-law, is such a remarkable girl 
in every respect that I must ^jive as complete a descrip- 
tion of her as possible. She was born in Upper Stewiacke^ 
Nova Scotia, on March 28th, 18G0, and is consequently in 
her eighteenth year. Esther has always been a (pieer girL 
When born she was so small that her good, kind grand- 
mother, who raised her, (her mother having died when she 
was three weeks old) had to wash and dress her on a pillow, 
and in fact keep her on it all the time until she was nine 
months old, at which age her weight was only five pounds. 
When she was (piite a little girl her father, Archibald T. 
(Jox, married again, and moved to East Machias, Maine, 
where he has since resided. Having followed his 
second wife to the grave, he married a third with whom 
he is now living. Esther's early years having been spent 
v^ith her grandmother, she very naturally became grave 
and old-fashioned, without knowing how or why. Like 
all little girls, she was remarkably susceptible to surround- 
ing influences, and the .sedate manner and actions of the 
old lady made an early impression on Esther that will cling 
to her through life. 

In person Esther is of low stature and rather inclined 
to be stout ; her hair is curly, of a dark brown color, and 
is now short, reaching only to her shoulders ; her eyes are 
large and grey, with a bluish tinge, and an earnest expres- 
.sion which seems to say, "why do you stare at me so; I 
can not help it if I am not like other people." Her eye- 
brows and eye-lashes are dark and w^ell marked, that 
is to say, the lashes are long and the eye-brows very dis- 
tinct. Her face is what can be calle . round, with well 
shaped features; she has remarkably handsome teeth, and 



nil 



THE H<)MK OK ESTHER (.'OX. 



» 



a pale complexion. Her hands and feet arc small and well 
shaped, and although inclined to he stout, she is fond 
of work, and is a great help to her sist-er Olive, although 
she sometimes requires a little urging. 

Although Esther is not possessed of the beauty that 
Jane is famous for, still there is something earnest, honest 
and attractive about this simple-hearted village maiden^ 
that wins for her lots of friends of about her own age ; in 
fact, she is quite in demand among the little children of 
the neighborhood also, who are ever ready to have a romp 
and a game with Ester, as they all call her. The truth 
is, a great many of the grown up inhabitants of the 
village call hei Ester also, dropping the h entirely, a habit 
common in Nova Scotia. 

Esther's disposition is naturally mild and gentle. She 
can at times, however, be very self-willed, and is bound to 
have her own v/ay when her mind is made up. If asked 
to do anything she does not feel like doing she becomes 
very sulky and has to be humored at times to keep peace 
in the family. However, all things considered, she is a 
good little girl and has always boi'ne a good reputation, ^ 
in every sense of the word.-; .'iu - 
i: There are two more boardels ih the little cottage, who 
require a passing notice. They are William Cox and John 
Teed. William is the brother of Olive, Jane, and Esther^ 
and is a shoe-maker by trade, and one of Dan's workmen 
in the factory. 

The other boarder, John Teed, is Dan's brother. John^ 
like his brother, is an honest, hard working young man,, 
has been raised a farmer, an occupation he still follows 
when not boarding with Dan in A mherst. 

As the reader may, perhaps, be anxious to know^ how 
Dan, good, honest hard working Dan, and, his thrifty little 
wife Olive, look, I will endeavor to give a short description 



10 



THE HOME OF ESTHER COX. 



of each. So here goes. Dan is about thirty-five years old, 
and stands five feet eight in his stockings. He has light 
brown hair, rather thin on top, a well shaped head, blue 
eyes, well defined features, a high nose, and wears a heavy 
moustache and bushy side whiskers; his complexion is 
florid ; rheumatism of several years standing has given him 
a slight halt in the left leg. He does his work, spends his 
salary as he should, and leads a Christian life, has a pew in 
the Wesleyan Church of which Rev. R. A. Temple is pastor, 
belongs to a temperance society, and, I dare say, when he 
dies will be well rewarded in the next world. Olive, as I 
have already said, is not a very large woman, She is good 
and honest, like her husband, and goes to church with him 
as a wife should. Her hair is dark brown, eyes grey, com- 
plexion pale and slightly freckled. Although not as beauti- 
ful as Jane, nor at any time as sulky as Esther can be, she 
has those motherly traits of character which command re- 
spect. Being older than her sisters she is looked up to by 
them for advice when they think they need it, and consola- 
tion when they are in sorrow. Olive's wise little head is 
sure to give the right advice at the right time, and in the 
family of the cottage her word is law. I do not mean to 
say that she rules her husband. No ! Dan is far from 
being a hen-pecked man, but, as two heads are always 
bettei than one, Dan often takes her advice and profits by it. 

Such is the cottage and household of honest Dan Teed. 

To-day is cool and pleasant. The hour is nearly twelve 
noon — the hour for dinner in the cottage. Esther is seat- 
ed on the parlor floor playing with George to keep him 
from running out in the hot sun. Willie is out in the 
yard near the stable tormenting a poor hen, who has had 
a log of wood tied to one of her legs by Olive to pre- 
vent her froin setting in the cow's stall ; but master Wil- 
lie seems to think she has been tied so that he may have 



THE HOME OF ESTHER COX. 



11 



a good time banging her over the head with a small club, 
which he is doing in a way that means business. Sud- 
denly his mother comes out of the kitchen, and after 
soundly boxing his ears, sends him howling into the house, 
much to the relief of the poor hen who has just fallen 
over with exhaustion and fright, but upon finding her tor- 
mentor gone is soon herself again. Presently Olive hears 
Dan at the gate, and comes to the front door to meet 
him and tell him that dinner is almost ready, remarking 
that he cannot guess what she has for dessert. Honest Dan 
replies that no matter what it ?s he is hungry and will eat 
it, for he has been working hard. So in he goes to wash 
his hands and face at the wash-stand in the kitchen. 

Jane is coming down the street. Esther, who is seat- 
ed on a chair with George on her lap, sees her sister 
from the bay window in the parlor. Jane has a posi- 
tion in Mr. Jas. P. Dunlap's establishment, and goes to 
her work every morning at seven o'clock. As soon as 
Esther sees Jane she takes George up in her arms and runs 
in to tell Olive that Jane is coming, and suggests that dinner 
be served at once, for she feels hungry. So Olive, with 
Esther's assistance, puts the dinner on the table, and they 
all sit down to enjoy the meal, and a good substantial meal 
it is ; plenty of beef -steak and onions, plenty of hot mashed 
potatoes, plenty of boiled cabbage, and an abundance of 
home made bread and fresh butter made that very morning 
from the rich cream of Dan's red cow. Little George, who 
is seated in his high chair at his mother's right hand, com- 
mences to kick the bottom of the table in such a vigorous 
manner that not one word can be heard, for he makes a 
terrible noise, the toes of his shoes being faced with copper 
to prevent the youngster from wearing them out too soon. 
Olive asks Elsther to please get the old pink sjaii and tie 
his feet so that he will be unable to make such a racket. 



12 



THE HOMK OF ESTHER COX. 



Esther does not move, but upon being requested a second 
time gets up rather reluctantly, goes to the hat rack in the 
hall, gets the scarf and ties the little fellow's feet, as request- 
ed. Upon reseating herself at the table it is noticeable that 
she has a sulky expression, for she does not like to be dis- 
turbed while enjoying dinner, nor in fact any meal, for the 
simple reason that her appetite is voracious, being particu- 
larly fond of pickles, and she has been known to drink a 
cupful of vinegar in a day. 

All ate in silence for some minutes, when Jane inquired 
if the cow was milked again last night ? " Yes," says Dan, 
and "■ I only wish I could find out who does it ; it would not 
be well for him, I can tell you. This is the tenth time this 
fortnight that she has b3en milked. Oh ! if it tvas not for 
this rheumiltism in my hip, I would stay up some night and 
catch the thief in the act, have him arrested, and — " '■ 

" And then," remarks Esther, with an eye to the financial 
part of the milk question, " v.'-e should have just two quarts 
more to sell every day ; that would be— let me see how much 
it would come to." ''''' '• 

" Never mind," remarks John Teed, " how much it would 
come to, just hand me that dish of potatoes, please. They 
are so well mashed that I must eat some more. I can't 
bear potatoes with lumps all through them, can you Jane." 

" Nc, John, I cannot," replies Jane. 

" Neither can I," joins in William Cox ; " if I ever marry 
I hope my wife will be as good a cook as Olive ; if she prov^ 
HO I shall be satisfied." • ' . r ! ' 

"Gim me 'nother piece of meat, do you hear," is the 
exclamation which comes from master Willie. 

" Ask as a good boy should," remarks Dan, "and you shall 
have it." ' 

" Gim me 'nother piece of meat, do you hear," says the 
young rascal a second time, louder than before. 



THK HOME OF KSTHElt COX. 



Hi 



A good .sound box on the ear from his father, prevents 
further I'einarks coming from the, unruly boy during the 
rest of the meal. Howtiv:er, after a slight pause, Dan 
gives him'a piece of beef -steak, his mother in the meantime 
says : 

"I wonder how that boy learns to be so rude," 

" Why," replies John Teed, " by playing with those bad 
boys down near the carriage factoiy. I saw him there about 
nine o'clock this morning, and what's more, I can tell you 
that unless he keeps- away from them he will be ruined." 

" I'm going to take him in hand as soon as he gets a little 
older and make him toe the mark," says Dan. " Well 
Mudge," — Dan nearly always calls his wife Mudge, for a pet 
name — " give me another cup of tea, woman, and then I'll 
go back to the factory, that is as soon as I have taken a 
pull or two at my pipe." 

" What ! are you going without eating some of the bread 
pudding I went to the trouble of making because I thought 
you would like it ?" asks Olive. 

" Oh, you've got pudding have you ; all right, I'll have 
some if it's cold," replies Dan. 

'■' Oh, yes, it's cold enough by this time. Come, Esther, 
help me to clear away these dishes, and you, Jane, please 
bring in the pudding, it is out on the door-step near the 
rain-water barrel." 

The dishes having been cleared away, and the pudding 
brought, all ate a due shaie, and after some further conver- 
sation about the midnight milker of the cow, Esther re- 
marks that she believes the thief to be one of the Micmac 
Indians from the camp up the road. Everybody laughs at 
such a wild idea, and they all leave the table. Esther, 
takes George from his chair, after lii-st untying his feet, and 
then helps Olive to remove the dishes to the kitchen, where 
she washes them, and then goes to the sofa in the parlor to 



u 



THE HOME OF ESTHER (JOX. 



take a nap. Dan in t^e meantime has enjoyed his smoke 
and gone back to the factory, as lias also William Cox. 
John Teed has gone up the Main Street to see^his sister 
Maggie, and Jane has returned to Mr. Dunlap's. Willie is out 
in the street again with the bad boys, and Olive has just 
commenced, to make a new plaid dress for George, who has 
gone to sleep in his little crib in the small sewing-room. 

Esther, after sleeping for about an hour, comes into the 
dining room where Olive is sewing and says, " Olive, I am 
going out to take a walk, and if Bob should come while I 
am out, don't forget to tell him that I will be in this even- 
ing, and shall expect him." 

" All right Esther says her sister, but you had better be 
careful about Bob, and how you keep company with him ; 
you know what we heard about him only the day before 
yesterday." 

"Oh, I don't believe a word of it," replied Esther. 
She looked at her sister for a moment, and then said 
in an injured tone, " I guess I am old enough to take care 
of myself. What ! half -past two already ? I must be off;" 
and off she went. 

Supper being over, Esther put on her brown dress and 
took her accustomed seat on the front door step to talk to 
Dan, as he smoked his evening pipe. Jane dressed in her 
favorite white dress, trimmed with black velvet, her beauti- 
ful hair fastened in a true Grecian coil, and perfectly smooth 
at the temples, is in the parlor attending to her choice 
plants, presently her beau comes to spend the evening 
with her. 

So the evening passes away. Olive has sung little George 

^to sleep, earned him up to bed and retired herself. 

Dan has smoked his pipe and retired also. It 

was now ten o'clock. Esther still sat on the front 

step humming the tune of a well known Wesleyan hymn 



THE HOME OF ESTHER COX. 



15 



to herself as she gazed up at the stars, for it must be re- 
membeied that although she was not by any means pious, 
still, like a dutiful girl, she went to church with Dan and 
Olive. As the girl was just passing into womanhood, and 
felt that she must love something, it was perfectly natural 
for her to sit there and wait for Bob to make his appear- 
ance. About half-past ten Jane's beau took his departure, 
and Jane not having anything further to keep her up, de- 
cided to retire, and advised Esther to follow her example. 

Esther took a last look up and down the street, and then 
went into the house with much reluctance. After locking 
the front door the girls went into the dininfj room and Jane 
lighted the lamp. Esther had taken off her shoes and 
thrown them on the floor, as was her custom, when it 
suddenly occurred to her that there was butter-milk in the 
cellar, and the same instant she made up her mind to have 
some. Taking the lamp from Jane, she runs into the cel- 
lar in her stocking feet, drinks about a pint of butter- 
milk and runs up again, telling her sister, who has been 
meanwhile in the dark dining room, that a large rat passed 
between her feet while in the cellar. 

" Come right up to bed you silly girl," said Jane, " and 
don't be talking about rats at this time of night." So Jane 
took the lamp and Esther pick-^.d up her shoes, and they 
went to their bed-room. 

After closing the door of their room, '* Esther," said Jane, 
" you are foolish to think anything at all about Bob." 

"Oh, mind your own business, Jane," Esther replied 
" let's say our prayers and retire ;" and so they did. 



»s^€* 





hlfT" 



!iP^ 



CHAPTER II. 



THi!) FATAL RIDK. 



Esther and Jane arose on the moniing of August 28tli, 
1878, as was their usual custom, at half-past six, and ate 
breakfast with the rest of the family. 

After breakfast Jane went to Mrs. Dunlap's, Ds.n to his 
■shoe factory with his brother-in-law, William Cox, John 
Teed also went to his work, and none of the family re- 
mained in the house but Olive and Esther, who commenced 
io wash up the breakfast dishes and put the dining room 
in order, so that jmrt of their work at least should be 
linished before the two little bo3''s came down stairs to 
have their childish wants attended to. What with making 
the beds and sweeping the rooms, and washing out some 
clothing for the boys, both Esther and Olive found plenty 
to occupy their time until the hour for preparing dinner 
arrived. When Olive commenced that rather monotonous 
operation, assisted by Esther, who, as she sat on the door- 
step l:ietween the dining room and kitchen paring potatoes, 
and placing them in a can of cold water beside her, at- 
tracted her sister's attention by her continued silence and 
the troubled expression of her countenance. 

"What in the name of the sun ails you to-day, Esther?" 
inquired Olive, really worried by her little sister's sad 
appearance. " '' '1?^' 

" Oh, nothing, Olive I only 1 was thinking that if — that 
if— that if—" 

" Well ! well, go on, go on, it is not necessary to say 
that if — five or six times in succession, is it, before telling 
me what's the matter with you, you nonsensical, giddy, 
iiaixl-headed girl. I believe you have fallen in love so 
rflocply with Bob McNeal, that you are worrying yourself 



THE FATAL lUDE. 



17 



to say 
telling 
giddy, 
ove so 
fouvself 



to death because you know he is too poor to marry you 
and you are afraid some rich girl will fall in love with 
him, and that he will marry her and give you the cold 
shoulder. There, that's just what I think is the matter 
with you, and I can tell you one thing my young lady^ 
and that is, that the sooner you get over your infatua- 
tion for that young man, the better for you, and the 
better for us all. There now, I'm done. No I'm not 
either, listen to me, girl, and don't make me angry by 
turning up your nose while I am giving you good advice." 

" I'm not turning up my nose at you, Olive. I only felt 
like sneezing, and wanted to stop it before it had fully 
commenced, and how could I try to stop it except by 
working my nose in that way, when I have a big wet 
potato in one hand and this ugly old knife in the other, 
and all wet, too." 

" Oh, nonsense, girl, don't keep on talking about ugly 
old knives and wet potatoes, but listen to me. I feel it 
in my bones that trouble is in store for us, and all through 
Bob McNeal. Now do be a good girl, and take my ad- 
vice and never invite him to call again ; because I tell 
you, Esther, that trouble is coming to you through that 
young man, for I feel it in my bones." 

" Well, Olive, I will tell you the truth ; the fact is that 
— why here's Jane ! Why, Jane, what has brought you home 
at this time of day ? It is only eleven and dinner won't 
be ready for an hour." 

Jane, who had just taken oft' her hat and hung it up 
in the hall, replied, " that as there was nothing more to 
be done at Dunlap's until the afternoon, she thought she 
might as well be at home attending to her plants as at the 
shop." 

After looking at Esther and Olive a moment, she said, 
" What were you two putting your heads together about 
B 



Id 



THE FATAL HIDE. 



when I came in ? Esther stopped talking as «oon as she 
saw me, and Olive, I noticed that you went to the stove 
and poured so much water into the tea-kettle from the 
bucket that it ran over, juj^t because you were looking 
at me instead of at the kettle. You are both up to some- 
thing, I know you are. Now come, tell me all about it; 
is it a great secret ? I won't tell anybody ; tell me, do." 

Esther, who has just finished paring the potatoes and is 
now putting them on the stove to boil, takes a seat in the 
dining room on the settee and has one of her sulky moods, 
during which she always declines to speak when spoken to. 

Jane looks at her a second and then says in a playful 
manner, " Oh, it's all right, Esther, I can guess what it was ; 
what nonsense. I'll go and attend to my plants. Why, I 
declare it's a quarter past eleven already, and I have got to 
comb my hair before dinner, too. Oh! my, how time flies!" 

So off Jane goes to her plants in the parlor, leaving 
Esther in the dinincj room and Olive in the kitchen {Tfettins: 
dinner ready as fast as she can. 

Olive had just gone behind the kitchen door that leads 
into the yard to get another stick of wood for the fire when 
she was startled by a scream ; she feels instinctively that 
one of her children is in danger, and she is right, for little 
George has just been saved from a horrible death by Maud 
Weldon, their next door neighbor. The little scamp had 
managed to crawl through the fence and get as far as the 
middle of the street, when Maud saw him, and was just in 
time to prevent him from being run over by a heavy wagon 
drawn by a pair of horses that were being driven at a break- 
neck pace past the house. Of course the fair Maud screamed, 
young women generally do at such times ; but she saved 
George all the same. Her piercing shriek brought the 
stately Miss Sibley and her mother to the door of their 
house, which is almost directly opposite Dan's, and also 



THE FATAL HIDE. 



ID 



caused Mrs. Mitchell and Mrs. Bell to become so nervous 
that they kept their children in the house for the rest of 
the day, when they heard of the dangerous adventure 
George had had, for they both arrived too late to witness 
the rescue. The watchfulness and care they both bestowed 
on their little ones for the next week was so much time 
thrown away, however, for it so happened that no more fast 
teams came through that particular street for about a month. 

Well, alter the brave blonde, Maud Weldon, had become 
the heroine of the hour, she went into Dan's cottage with 
Esther and Jane, who both ran out when they heard the 
scream. Olive had already taken her boy in, washed 
his little hands and face, put on his clean over-dress, 
and was now holding him in her lap in the large rocking- 
chair. Maud Weldon was in the parlor with Jane and 
Esther looking at the flowers and telling them about her 
new beau, how handsome he was, and that she intended to 
marry him if he asked her, winding up her conversation on 
the subject of beaux with the remark that she was bound 
not to die an old maid, but was going to get married for she 
wanted to hpve a house of her own to keep. And so the 
conversation ran on between the three girls in the parlor 
until dinner was nearly ready, when Mrs. Hicks, Maud & 
aunt, called her and she went home. 

After dinner, Esther and Olive were washing the dishes 
in the kitchen and talking over George's narrow escape,, 
when Esther suddenly made up her mind to tell 
her sister what she was about to do when Jane's rather 
unexpected return from the shop put an end to their con- 
versation. So after having put all the dishes away in the 
pantry, she told Olive if she would promise not to tell any- 
body, not even Dan, she would tell her something that must 
be kept a secret, because if it became known it might make 
people nervous and could do no good. 



20 



THE FATAL RIDE. 



I 



•:i 



i ! 



" Very well," replied Olive, " wait until I get my sewing, 
then wo will go into the parlor, you can tell me all about 
it, and I promise that I won't tell." 

So they went into the parlor. Esther sat in the 
/rocking-chair and Olive on the sofa, 

" Well, Olive," said Esther. " Now don't laugh, for it ia 
«,bout a dream." 

" A dream l" exclaimed Olive. " A dream ! go on, let me 
hear it." 

" Well," began Esther, " last night I sat for two hours on 
the front step looking at the stars. After I came in I 
•went down into the cellar in my stocking feet and drank 
about a pint of butter-milk and a largo rat ran between my 
feet ; then Jane and I went to our room, shut the door, 
said our prayers and went to bed, and in a short time we 
both fell asleep, and I dreamt that when I got up in the 
morning every thin and every body was changed except 
myself. This cottage instead of being yellow was green; 
you, Dan, Jane, brother William, John Teed, Willie and 
George, all had heads like bears, and you all growled at me, 
but yet could talk, and, what was very strange, you all 
had eyes as large as horses eyes, only they were as red as 
blood. While I was talking to you I heard a noise in 
the street and on going to the door I saw hundreds of 
black bulls with blue eyes, very bright blue eyes, coming 
towards the house, blood was dripping from their mouths 
^d their feet made fire come out of the ground. On 
they came, roaring very loudly all the time, right straight 
for the house. They broke down the fence, I shut the front 
door, locked it and then ran to the back door and fastened 
it. Then they all commenced to butt the house so violently 
that it nearly fell over. It shook so that I woke up and 
found that I had fallen out of bed without waking Jane. 
So I got in again and soon fell asleep; but the dream is still 



lii 



THE FATAL KIDE. 



21 



in my mind. I can see it still, and wonder what it means 
until I get the head-ache. What do you think about it 
Olive ? Do you thirl; there is any truth in dreams ? Did 
you ever know of one to come true, or do you think it was 
all caused by the pint of butter-milk and my ^om^ into the 
cellar in my stocking feet, and the rat?" 

" Well," said Olive, " I never could make up my mind 
fully on that subject ; but of this I am certain, whatever 
Dan dreams comes true ; there is no doubt about that. But 
don't tell him anything about this dream, Esther, or he will 
be floundering around all night trying to find out what it 
means ; or Jane either, because, perhaps, it will scare her so- 
that she will be unable to sleep." 

" Don't believe it, Olive, I have told Jane, and she says it 
was all caused by the butter-milk I drank. She says it- 
made me see a rat in the cellar just after I had drank it, 
and that it was no wonder I saw bears and bulls, too, after 
I went to sleep. Oh, my sakes alive, if I only had a dreami 
book, like the one Mrs. Emery used to have, I'd soon find 
out what it means. Do you know, Olive, I have a great 
mind to go out to the Indian camp this very afternoon and 
try if that fortune-telling squaw who told Maggie Teed's 
fortune, and Mary Miller's, too, can't tell me all about it. I 
want to know if it means that something terrible is about 
to happen or not." 

" Well," said Olive, " Esther, don't talk any more about it 
but read your Bible, go to church, say your prayers, and 
ask God to take care of you ; then you need never fear 
dreams or anything else, for you must always remember 
that God has more power than the devil, and always will 
have." 

" Oh !" replied Esther, with a smile, " it is all very well 
for you to talk in that way, but I should'nt wonder if the 
devil saw more of me than he ever has yet before I die." 



22 



THE FATAL HIDE. 



"01), Esther, how ciin you talk so; you ought to bo 
aahainccl of yourself, and to think that you were brought 
up by grand-mother too." 

And so the afternoon passed slowly away, the beautiful 
blue sky which had been so clear all day began to assume 
a darkish aspect, and threatening clouds spread themselves 
])etweon the earth and heaven. By the time Dan and the 
rest had coiiie home to supper, it looked very much liko 
rain. Dan said it was going to rain sometime during tiii- 
night ; he knew it, because his rheumatism was bad. 

Supper being ready, they all sat down and enjo^'ed it. 
After supper Dan took a smoke, Jane went to her accustom- 
ed seat in the parlor near her plants, William Cox and 
John Teed went out to see their girls, Olive put the boys 
to bed, and Esther sat down on the front door-step all by 
herself a 1 sang " The Sweet By-and-bye" in a low voice. 

The hands of the old fashioned clock in the dining room 
indicated ten minutes to eight, when a carriage drove up to 
the gate, and a well built young man jumped out, opened th# 
gate and came in. As he entered the house he shook hands 
with Esther, saying as he did so : " Go and put on your hat 
and sack and take a ride with me Esther, and I will tell 
you why I did not call last evening as I promised." This 
young man was Bob McNeal, by trade a shoemaker, and a 
fine looking young fellow he was, too. His hair and eyes 
were black, features rather handsome, and he wore a small 
black moustache. 

As soon as Esther had received his invitation she ran up 
stairs, got her hat and sack, ran down again, jumped into 
the carriage, which was a buggy with room for two only, 
and off they drove. Jane came out to the front door and 
called after them, just as they were driving aAvay : " You 
had better put the top up Bob, for it will certainly rain be- 
fore long." 



THE FATAL KIDK. 



2;} 



bo 



Dan, who had been sitting in the dining room in one of 
the easy chaivii, remarked to Jane as lie was going up stairs : 
" What a pity Bob McNeal is .such a wild fellow. I'm afraid 
ho will never amount to much. Ho is a remarkably fine 
workman too ; ho lias improved in his work since I took 
him into the factory with me. Oh ! well, I suppose it's all 
right ; good night Jane." 

" Good night Dan," said Jane. 

" I hope your rheumatism will bo better in the morning." 

" So do I," replied ])an. And up he went to bed, Jane 
returning to the parlor to wait for her beau. 

Bob and Esther drove through Amherst, and turned down 
the road leading to the Marsh. They were going to take a 
ride into the country. Bob said that was the best road to 
take, and Esther did not care much which way they went, 
so she got a ride. 

While driving through a small wood. Bob seemed to be 
suddenly seized with an attack of what lawyers are pleased 
to term emotional insanity, for he dropped the reins and 
leaped from the buggy. Upon reaching the ground, he drew 
from the side pocket of his coat a large iOvolver, and, point- 
ing it at Esther, told her, in a loud voice, to get out of the 
buggy or he would kill her where she sat. She, of course, 
refused to do as he requested or rather commanded, and, as 
it was raining and becoming quite dark, she told him to 
get into the buggy and drive her home, and not act like 
a crazy man. The remark about acting like a crazy man 
seemed to enrage him past endurance, for he uttered 
several terrible oaths, and, aiming the revolver at her 
heart, was about to fire, w^hen the sound of wheels were 
heard rumbling in the distance. He immediately jumped 
into the buggy, seized the reins, and drove at a break- 
neck pace through the pouring rain to Dan's cottage. 
Esther w^as wet through by the time they had arrived 



24 



THE FATAL RIDE. 



at the gate. She jumped out, opened the gate, entered the 
cottage and ran up stairs without noticinf]^ Jane, whom she 
passed in the hall. Bob, as soon as she got out, drove 
rapidly down the street. 

AS the hour was now ten ^'clock, Esther immediately re- 
tired and, after crying herself to sleep, slept until morning. 
Jane entered i-he room about half an hour after her sister, 
engaged in prayer and then retired, without disturbing her. 

For the next four days Esther seemed to be suffering from 
some secret sorrow. She could not remain in the house, but 
was continually on the street, or at some of the neighbors' 
houses, and every night she cried herself to sleep. 

Of course her woe-begone appearance was noticed by the 
family, but they refrained from questioning her, for the 
simple reason that they supposed she and Bob had quar- 
relled ; and as they did not approve of the attachment be- 
tween him and Esther, they were rather glad that his visits 
had ceased, and gave no further attention to the matter, 
supposing that she would be herself again in u week or two. 
Bob's continued absence from the cottage — for he used to be 
there every other day — strengthened them in the belief that 
they were right in their supposition, and so they let the 
matter rest. 



w 



e-ir< 



§L 




iris9 



'^^^m^c^^^'^^^'^ 



b'^% 



CHAPTER III. 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 

Slipper is just over. Dan and Olive are in the parlor.. 
Jane is up stairs in her room, talking to Esther who has re- 
tired early ; it being only seven o'clock, she asks Esther : 
" How long she is going to continue to worry herself about 

Bob r 

Not receiving a reply, she puts on her heavy sack and 
remarks : " I am going over to see Miss Porter, and will soon 
return ; it is so damp and foggy to-night that, I declare, it 
makes me feel sleepy too. I think I will follow your ex- 
an^ple, and retire early. Good night, I suppose you will be 
asleep by the time I get back ;" and off she goes. 

As the night is so veiy damp and disagreeable, all begin 
to feel sleepy long before half -past eight, and go up to their 
rooms. 

Before Dan goes up stairs, he takes the bucket and brings 
some fresh water from the pump — which he, as usual, places 
on the kitchen table — taking a large tin dipper about half 
full up to his room for the children to drink during the 
night. 

It is now about fifteen minutes to nine. Jane has just 
returned from her visit, and has gene to her room, which is 
in the front of the house, ne^r the stairway, and directly 
next to Dan and Olive's room. She finds Esther crying, as 
usual, for the girl has actually cried herself to sleep every 
night since the fatal ride. After getting into bed, she says : 
" Oh, my, I forgot to put the lamp out," rises immediately 
and extinguishes the light, remarks to E^:ther that "it is 
very dark," bumps her head against the bed post, and finally 
settles herself down for a good sleep. 

Esther, who has just stopped crying, remarks to Jane 



:2G 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



!i: 



i!:!Hii 



il 



that " this is a wretched night," and says, " somehow I can't 
get to sleep." 

" No wonder," says Jane, " you went to bed too early." 

"Jane, this is September the fourth, aint it?" asks Esther. 

" Yes," replies Jane. " Go to sleep and let me alone, I 
don't want to talk to you, I want to go to sleep. What if 
it is September the fourth." 

" Oh nothing replies Esther only it is just a week to- 
night, since I went riding with Bob ! Oh, what will become 
of me ?" and she instantly burst into another crying spell. 

" Esther " said Jane, " Do you know I think you are, 
losing your mind, and that if you keep on this way you 
will get so crazy that we will have to put you in the In- 
sane Asylum." This had the desired effect, for she stopped 
instantly. For a few minutes everything was perfectly 
still. No sound was to be heard except the breathing- of 
the two young girls, as they lay side by side in bed. 

They had remained perfectly quite, for about ten or fifteen 
minutes, when Esther jumped out of bed with a scream, 
exclaiming that there was a mouse under the bed clothes. 

Her scream startled her sister, who was almost asleep, 
and she also got out of bed and lit the lamp, for "he is as 
much afraid of mice as Esther is. They both searched the 
bed, but could not find the supposed mouse, supposing it to 
be inside the mattrass. Jane exclaimed " Oh pshaw, what 
fools we are to be sure to be scared at a little harmless 
.mouse ; if there really is one here it can do us no harm, for 
see, it is inside the mattrass, look how the straw is being 
moved about. The mouse has gotten inside and can't get 
out, because there is no hole in the ticking. Let us go back 
to bed Esther. It can do us no harm now." So they put out 
the light, and got into bed again. After listening for a few 
minutes v/ithout hearing the straw move in the mattrass, 
they both fell asleep. 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



27 



On the following night the girls heard something moving 
\mder their bed. Esther exclaimed : " There is that mouse 
again, Jane. Let us get up and kill it. I'm not going to 
be worried by mice every night." 

So they both arose, and on hearing a rustling in a green 
paste-board box, filled with patch-work, which was under 
the bed, they placed it out in the middle of the noom and 
were much amazed, to see the box jump up in the air about 
a foot and then fall Over on its side. The girls could not 
believe their own eyes ; so Jane placed the box in its old 
position in the middle of the room, and both watched it 
intently, when to their amazement the same thing occurred 
again. The girls were now really frigh\}ened, and screamed 
as loudly as they^ould for Dan, who put on some clothing 
and came into their room to ascertain what was the matter. 
They told him what had just taken place, but he only 
laughed, and after pushing the box under the bed, and re- 
marking that they must be insane or peniaps had been 
.reaming, he went back to bed. grumbling because his rest 
had been disturbed. 

The next morning the girls both declared that the box 
liad really moved ; but, as nobody believed them, they saw 
it was of no use to talk of the matter. Jane went to the 
shop, Dan to his shoe factory, and William Cox and John 
Teed about their busines as usual, leaving Olive and Esther 
to attend to their household duties. After dinner Olive took 
her sewing into the parlor, and Esther went out to walk. 
The afternoon was delightful, and there was quite a breeze 
blowing from the bay. Walking is very pleasant when 
there is no dust; but Amherst is such a dusty little 
village, especially when the wind blows from the bay, 
that it is impossible to walk on any of the streets with 
comfort on a windy day during the summer. Esther 
found this to be the case, so she retraced her steps home- 



28 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



\\i 



li'i 



m 



ward, stopping at the post office and at Bird's book store, 
where she bought a bottle of ink from Miss Blanche. On 
arriving at the cottage she hung up her hat and joined 
Olive in the parlor, took little George on her lap, and, after 
singing him to sleep, lay down on the sofa and took a nap. 

After supper Esther took her accustomed seat on the 
door-step, remaining there until the moon had risen. It was 
a beautiful moonlight night, almost as bright as day. While 
seated there gazing at the moon, she said to herself, " Well 
there is one thing certain anyhow, I am going to have good 
luck all this month, for on Sunday night I saw the new 
moon over my shoulder." 

At half-past eight o'clock, Esther complained of feeling 
feverish and was advised by Olive and J^e to go to bed, 
which she did. 

About ten o'clock Jane retired for the night. After she 
had been in bed some fifteen minutes, Esther jumped with 
a sudden bound into the centre of the room, taking all the 
bed clothes with her. 

" My God !" she exclaimed, " what can be the matter with 
me! Wake up Jane, wake up! I'm dying, I'm dying!" "Dying!" 
responded Jane ; "why dying people dont speak in that loud 
tone. Wait until I light the lamp, don't die in the dark 
Esther." 

Jane thought her sister only had the night mare, but when 
she lit the lamp, she was considerably alarmed by her sister's 
appearance. There stood Esther in the centre of the room, 
her short hair almost standing on end, her face as red as 
blood, and her eyes really looked as if they were about to 
start from their sockets, her hands were grasping the back 
of a chair so tightly that her nails sank into the soft wood. 
She was truly an object to look on with amazement, as she 
stood there in her white night gown trembling with fear. Her 
sister called as loudly as she could for assistance ; for Jane, 



THE IlAUNTED HOUSE. 



;20 



too, was pretty well frightened by this time, and did not 
know what to do. Olive v/as the first to enter the room, 
having first thrown a shawl around her shoulders, for the 
night was very chilly. Dan, put on his coat and pants in a 
hurry, as did also William Cox, and John Teed, and the 
three men entered the room about the same time. 

" Why what in the name of thunder ails you Esther ?" 
asked Dan. William and John exclaimed in the same breath, 
"She's mad!" 

Olive was speechless with amazement, while they stood 
looking at the girl, not knowing what to do to relieve her 
terrible agony. She became very pale and seemed to be grow- 
ing weak ; in fact, she became so weak in a short time that 
she had to be assisted to the bed. After sitting on the edge 
of the bed for a moment, and gazing about the room with a 
vacant stare, she started to her feet with a wild yell, and 
said she felt like bursting into pieces. 

" Great Heavens," exclaimed Olive, " What shall we do 
with her ; she is crazy ?" 

Jane, who always retains her presence of mind, took her 
sister's hand and said in a soothing tone : " Come Esther, 
get into bed again." As they found that she could not do 
so without assistance, Olive and Jane helped her, and 
placed the bed clothing over her again. As soon as she 
had been assisted to bed she said in a low choking voice, 
" I am swelling up and shall certainly burst, I know I 
shall." 

Dan looked at her face and remarked in a startled tone. 
" Why, the girl is swelling, Olive, just look at her, look at 
her han49jop,^,^fe l^pw swollen they are, and she is as hot 
as fire." ; 

She was literally burning up with fever, and yet as pale 
as death, while only a few minutes before her face was as 
^jB^ ,83 bloo^,,an4ih^r,9;i^re person as cc^ld as ice. What a 



rnnwsrTTiB 



30 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



i,r'; 



!M 



iil 



strange case, pale when hot, and blood red when cold, yet 
such was really the fact. 

While the famil}'' stood looking at her, wondering what 
would relieve her, for her entire body had swollen to an 
enormous size and she was screaming with pain and grind- 
ing her teeth as if in a fit, a loud report like thunder was. 
heard in the room. They all started to their feet instantly 
and seemed paralyzed with fear. 

" My God !" exclaimed Olive, " the house has been struck 
by lightning and I know my poor boys are killed ?" 

After giving vent to this exclamation, she rushed from 
the room to her own where the children were, and found 
them both sleeping soundly, so she returned to the room 
where they all stood looking at Esther, and wondering what 
had produced the terrible sound. On entering, Olive told 
them that the boys were both sound asleep. 

" I wonder what that awful noise was ?" she said. Going 
to the window and raising the curtain she saw that the stars 
were shining brightly and was then satisfied that it had not 
been thunder they had heard. Just as she let the curtain 
drop, three terrific reports were heard, apj^arently directly 
under the bed. They were so loud that the wholo 
room shook, and Esther who a moment before had been 
swollen to such an enormous size, immediately assumed her 
natural appearance, and sank into a state of calm repose. 
As soon as they found that it was sleep and not death that 
had taken possession of her, they all left the room except 
Jane, who went back to bed beside her sister, but could not 
sleep a wink for the balance of the night. 

The next day Esther remained in bed until about nine 
o'clock, when she arose, seemingly all right again, and got 
her own breakfast. As her appetite was not as good as 
usual, all she could eat was a small piece of bread and butter 
and a large green pickle, washed down with a cup of strong 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



31 



tea. She helped Olive with her work as usual, and after 
dinner took a walk past the post office, around the block 
and back to the cottage again. At supper the usual conver-- 
sation about the strange sounds took place, all wondering- 
what had caused them. As no one could ascertain the 
cause they gave it up as something too strange to think 
about, and all agreed not to let the neighbors know any- 
thing about it, because they argued, that, as no one would 
be likely to believe that such strange sounds had been heard 
under the bed, the best thing to do was to keep the matter 
quiet. 

About four nights after the loud reports had been heard, 
Esther had another similar attack. It came on about ten 
o'clock at night, just as she was getting in bed. This time, 
however, she managed to get into bed before the attack had 
swelled her up to any great extent. Jane, who had already 
retired, advised her to remain perfectly still, and perhaps 
the attack would pass off, but how sadly was she mistaken.. 
Esther had only been in bed about five minutes when, 
to the amazement of the girls, all the bed clothing flew off 
and settled down in the far corner of tiie room. They could 
see them going for the lamp was burning dimly on the table.. 
They both screamed, and then Jane fainted dead away. 
The family rushed into the room as before, and were so 
frightened that they did not kno\g what to do. There lay 
the bed clothes in the corner, Esther all swollen up, Jane 
in a dead faint, and perhaps really dead for all they knew, 
for by the glare of the lamp, which Dan held in his hand, 
she looked more dead than alive. Olive was the first 
to come to her senses. Taking up the bed clothes, she 
placed thera over her sisters. Just as she had done so, of! 
they flew again to the same comer of the room. In less 
time than it takes to count three, the pillow flew from under- 
Esther's head and struck John Teed in the face. He im.- 



J I 



32 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



*' • 1 1 



!i 




mediately left the room, saying that he had had enough. He 
<;ould not be induced to return and sit on the edge of the 
bed with the others, who in that way managed to keep the 
clothes in their place. Jane had by this time recovered 
from her swoon. William Cox went down to the kitchen for 
a bucket of water to bathe Esther's head, which was aching 
terribly. Just as he got to the door of the room again with 
the bucket of water, a succession of reports were heard, 
which seemed to come from the bed where Esther lay. 
They were so very loud that the whole room shook, and 
Esther, who had a moment before been swollen up, com- 
menced to assume her natural appearance, and in a few 
minutes fell into a pleasant sleep. As everything seemed 
now to be all right again, everybody went back to bed. 

In the morning Esther and Jane were both very weak, 
particularly Esther. She, however, got up when her sister 
did, and lay down on the sofa in the parlor. At breakfast 
they all agreed that a doctor had better be called in. So in 
the afternoon Dan left the factory early and went to see Dr. 
Caritte. The doctor laughed when Dan told him what had 
occurred. He said h% would call in the evening and remain 
until one .n the morning if necessary, but did not hesitate 
to say that what Dan had told him was all nonsense, re- 
marking that he knew no such tomfoolery would occur 
while he was in the hous^. 

As the hands of the clock pointed to ten, in walked the doc- 
tor. Bidding everybody a hearty good evening, he took a 
seat near Esther, who had been in bed since nine o'clock, 
but as yet had not been afflicted with one of her strange 
attacks. The doctor felt her pulse, looked at her tongue, 
and then told the family that she seemed to be suffering 
from nervous excitement, and had evidently received a 
tremendous shock of some kind. Just as he had said these 
words, the pillow from under her head left the bed, with the 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



33 



exception of 6ne corner, which remained under her head, 
straightened itself out as if filled with air, and then went 
back to fts place again. The doctor's large, blue eyes opened 
to their utmost capacity, as he asked in a low tone : ' Did 
you all see that ; it went back again." 

" So it did," remarked John Teed, " but if it moves out 
again it will not go back, for I intend to hold on to it, even 
if it did bang me over the head last night." 

John had no sooner spoken these words than out came 
the pillow from under Esther's head as before. He waited 
until it had just started back again, and then grasped it 
with both hands, and held on with all his strength. The 
pillow, however, was pulled from 'him by some invisible 
power stronger than himself. As he felt it being pulled 
away, his hair actually stood on end. 

" How wonderful !" exclaimed Dr. Caritte. 

Just as the doctor arose from his chair, the reports under 
the bed commenced, as on the previous night. The doctor 
looked beneath the bed, but failed to ascertain what caused 
the sounds. When he walked to the door the sounds fol- 
lowed him, being now produced on the floor of the room. 
In about a minute after this, off went the bed clothes again^ 
and before they had been put back on the bed, the sound 
as of some person writing on the wall with a sharp instru- 
ment was heard. All looked at the wall whence the sound 
of writing came, when to their great astonishment there was 
seen written, near the head of the bed, in large characters, 
these words : " Esther Cox, you are mine to kill." Every- 
body could see the writing plainly, and yet only a moment 
before nothing was f ) be seen but the blank wall. 

The reader can imagine their utter amazement at what 
had just taken place. There they stood around the bed of 
this wonderful girl, each watching the other to see that 
there was no deception. They knew these marvellous things 

c 



M 



34 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



\k 



had taken place, for all heard them with their own ears 
and beheld them wUh their own eyes. Still, they could 
not believe their own senses, it was all so strange. ^ But the 
writing on the wall — what did it mean, and how came it 
there ? God only knew. 

As Doctor Caritte stood in the doorway for a moment 
wondering to himself what it all meant, a large piece of 
plaster came flying from the wall of the room, having in its 
flight turned a corner and fallen at his feet. The good doc- 
tor picked it up mechanically and placed it on a chair. He 
was too astonished to spejik. Just as he did so, the pound- 
ings commenced again with redoubled power, this time 
shaking the entire room. It must be remembered that dur- 
ing all this time Esther lay upon the bed, almost frightened 
to death by what was occurring. After this state of things 
had continued for about two hours, everything became quiet 
and she went to sleep. The doctor said he would not give 
her any medicine until the next morning, when he would 
call at nine and give her something to quiet her nerves ; for 
she was certainly suflering from some nervous trouble. As 
to the sounds and movements of objects, he could not ac- 
count for them, but thought if she became strong again they 
would cease. 

In the morning the doctor called as he had promised, and 
was much surprised to see Esther up and dressed, helping 
Olive to wash the dishes. She told him that she felt all 
right again, only she was so nervous that any sudden noise 
made her jump. Having occasion to go down into the cel- 
lar with a pan of milk, she came running up, out of breath, 
exclaiming that there was some one down in the cellar, for 
a piece of plank had been thrown at her. The doctor went 
down to see for himself, Esther remaining in the dining 
room; for it must be borne in mind that the cellar door 
opens into the dining room. In a moment he came up again 



THK HAUNTED HOUSK. 



35 



rn ears 
1 couUl 
But the 
jaiue it 

noment 
)iece of 
lof in its 
)0(l doc- 
ir. He 
pound- 
lis time 
hat dur- 
ghtened 
)f things 
tne quiet 
not give 
e would 
i-ves ; for 
ible. As 
not ac- 
jain they 

ised, and 
helping 
felt all 



en noise 
the eel- 
breath, 
lellar, for 
itor went 



le 



dining 



liar door 
up again 



remarking that there was nobody down there to throw a 
piece of plank, nor anything else. 

" Esther, come down with me," said ho. So down they 
both went, when, to their great surprise, several potatoes 
came Hying at their heads. That was enough. They both 
beat a hasty retreat. The doctor left the house, and called 
again in the evening, with several very powerful sedatives, 
morphia being one, which he administered to Esther about 
ten o'clock as she lay in bed. She still complained of her 
nervousness, and said she felt as if electricity was passing 
all through her body. He ha<i given her the medicine, and 
had just remarked that she would have a good night's rest^ 
when the loud sounds commenced, only they were much loud- 
er and in more rapid succession than on the previous nights. 
Presently the sounds left the room and were heard on the 
roof of the house. The doctor instantly left the house and 
went out into the street, hearing the sounds while in the 
open air. He returned to the house more nonplussed than 
ever, and told the family that from the street it seemed as 
if some person was on the roof with a heavy sledge hammer 
pounding away to try and break through the shingles. Be- 
ing a moonlight night he could see distinctly that there was 
not any one out on the roof. He remained until twelve. 
Everything becoming quiet again, he then departed, saying 
he would call the next day. When he had got as far as 
the gate, the sounds on the roof commenced again with 
great violence, and continued until he had gone about two 
hundred yards from the cottage, at which distance he 
could still hear them distinctly. 

The next week it became known throughout Amherst 
that strange things were going on at Dan Teed's cottage. 
The mysterious sounds had been heard by people in the 
street as they passed the house, and the poundings now 
commenced in the morning and were to be heard all day 



96 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



IM 



long. Esther always felt relieved when the sounds were 
produced by the unknown power. 

Dr. Caritte called every night, and sometimes during the 
•day, but could not afford her the slightest relief. One night, 
About three weeks after the doctor's first visit, as ho and 
the family were standing around her bed listening to the 
3oud knpckings, Esther suddenly threw her arms up towards 
the head of the bed, and seemed to bo seized with a spasm, 
for she became cold and perfectly rigid. While in this state 
she commenced to talk, and told all that had occurred be- 
tween herself and Bob McNeal on the night of the fatal ride. 
This was the first anybody knew of the affair, for she had 
never told of it, and Bob had never been seen in the locality 
after that night. When she came to her senses again, Ihey 
told her what had boon said by hei*self during the strange 
state from which she had just emerged. Upon 1 aring this 
she commenced to cry, and told them that it was all true ; 
that he had threatened her with his revolver, but becoming 
frightened by the sound of wheels in the distance, had 
driven her home without offering her any further show of 
violence. 

" There !" exclaimed Olive, " Did'nt I tell you that I felt 
it in my bones, that harm would come to you through that 
young man, and now you see he really is at the bottom of 
all this. Ah, it is Bob, who makes all these strange sounds 
about the house ; I know he is the cause." Instantly three 
distinct reports were heard, shaking the whole house with 
their violence. 

" Do you know doctor," said Jane, " that I believe that 
whatever agency makes these noises, it can hear and under- 
stand what we are talking about, and perhaps see us." 
The moment she had finished the sentence, three distinct 
reports were heard as loud as before. 

" Ask if it can hear us doctor ?" said Dan. " Can you, 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



sr 



whatever you are, hear what wo say ?" asked Dr. Caritte. 

Again three reports were heard, whicli shook the entire- 
house. 

*' Why, that is very singular," rcmarkerl the doctor. " I 
believe Jane was right, it can hea,r." 

" Well, let us try again," said Dan. " If you can see and' 
hear, tell us how many persons are in this room ?" Esther- 
did not know how many were present, for she was lying in 
the bed, with hor face buried in the pillow trem>»ling withi 
fear. As Dan did not receive an answer, he asked again.. 

" How many persons are in the room ? Give us a knock- 
on the floor for each one." Five distinct knocks were made 
by the strange force on the floor, and there were just five- 
persons in the room, as follows : — Dr. Caritte, Dan, Oliver, 
Esther and Jane, William Cox and John Teed havii^ 
left the room after Esther had hurried her face in the 
pillow. " Well, it certainly is strange remarked the doctor, 
but I must go, it is getting late." So he departed after say- 
ing he would call the next evening. 

The next evening the Doctor called and remained for about 
an hour, but as nothing occurred he departed feeling rather 
disappointed. For the next three weeks no one could 
tell when the manifestations would take place. Some- 
times they would commence in the morning and con- 
tinue all day, and at other times they would only take place 
after Esther had retired. It had now become a settled fact 
that Esther must be in the house or there would be no 
manifestations of any kind. They never occurred during 
her absence. 

About one month after the commencement of the mani- 
festations, Dr. Edwin Clay, the well known Baptist clei^y- 
man, called at the house to behold the wonders with hi& 
own eyes. He had read some little account of them in the 
newspapers, but was desirious of seeing and hearing for 




36 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 




h^'mself, not taking much stock, as the saying is, in what 
other people told him about the ah'iair. However, he was 
fortunate enough to have his desire fully gratified. He 
heard the loudest kind of knocks, in answer to his various 
ij^uestions, saw the mysterious writing on the wall, and left 
the house fully satisfied that Esther did not produce any 
of the manifestations herself, and that the family did not 
assist her as some people believed. He, however, was of the 
opinion that through the shock her system had received tho 
night she went riding, she had become in some mysterious 
manner an electric batter}'. His theory being, that invisible 
fiashes of lightening left her person, and that the k aocks 
which every body could hear distinctly, were simply minute 
claps of thunder. He lectured on his theory, and drew large 
audiences as he always does, no matter what the subject is. 
Perfectly satisfied that the manifestations are genuine, he 
has nobly defended Esther Cox from the platform and 
the pulpit. 

Rev. R. A. Temple, the well known Wesleyan minister 
pastor of the Wesleyan Church in Amherst, has witnessed- 
some of the manifestations. He saw, among other strange 
things, a bucket of cold water become agitated, and to all 
appearances boil, while standing on the kitchen table. 

As soon as people in the village found that such eminent 
men as Dr. Clay, Dr. Caritte and Rev. Dr. Temple took an 
interest in the case, it became quite fashionable for people 
in the village to call at Dan's little cottage to see Esther 
Cox and witness the wonderful manifestations. While the 
house was filled with visitors, large crowds often stood out- 
side unable to gain admittance. On several occasions the 
village police force had to be called out to keep order, so 
anxious were people to see and hear for themselves. 

Many believed and still believe the whole affair a 
fraud, and others say that Esther mesmerizes people, and 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



39 



they think they hear and see things which never have an 
existence. Dr. Nathan Tupper is of this belief, although he 
has never witnessed a single manifestation. 

Dr. Caritte, who continued to be one of the daily callers at 
the cottage, would have a theory one day that would seem 
to account for the manifestations he had witnessed, and the 
next day something wonderful would occur and upset his 
latest theory completely, so that he finally gave up in des- 
pair and became simply a passive spectator. Things went 
on in this way until December, when Esther was taken ill 
with diphtheria, and confined to her bed for about two 
weeks, during which time the manifestations ceased en- 
tiiely. After she had recovered from her illness, she went 
to Sackville, N. B., to visit her other married sister, Mrs. 
John Snowden, remaining at her house for about two weeks. 
While there she was entirely free from the manifestations. 

On returning to Dan's cottage the most startling part of 
the case was developed. One night while in bed with her 
sister Jane in another room, her room having been changed 
to see if that would put a stop to the affair, she told her 
sister that she could hear a voice saying to her that the 
house was to be set on fire that night by a ghost. The voice 
also said that it had once lived on the earth, but had been 
dead for some years. The members of the household were 
called in at once, and told what had been said. They ci'dy 
laughed and remarked that no such thing as that could take 
place, because there were no ghosts. Dr. Clay had said it was 
all electricity. " And," added Dan, " electricity can't set the 
house on fire unless it comes from a cloud in the form of 
lightning." As they ".ere talking the matter over, to the 
amazement of all present, a lighted match fell from the ceil- 
ing to the bed, and would have set it on fire had not Jane 
put it out instantly. During the next ten minutes, eight 
or ten lighted matches fell on the bed and about the room, 



40 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE 



M 



but v/ere all extinguished before any harm could be done. 
In the course of the niixht the loud knockino^s commenced. 
The family could now all converse with the invisible power 
in this way. It would knock once for a negative answer, 
and three times for an answer in the affirmative, giving two 
knocks when in doubt about a reply. Dan asked if the 
house Avould be set on fire, and the reply was three loud 
knocks on the floor, meaning yes ; and a fire was started 
about five minutes afterwards. The ghost took a dress 
belonging to Esther that was hanging on a nail in the wall 
near the door, rolled it up, and, before any of the persons in 
the room could remove it from under the bed, where the 
ghost had placed it before their very eyes, it was all in a 
blaze. It was extinguished, however, without being much 
injured by thfe fire. The next morning all was consterna- 
tion in the cottage. Dan and Olive were afraid that the 
ghost would start a fire in some inaccessible place and burn 
the house down. They were both convinced that it really 
was a ghost, " for " said Olive, " nothing but the devil or a 
ghost with evil designs, could do so terrible a thing as 
start a fire in a cottage at the dead of night." 

Dr. Clay's theory might be true, but it was not clear to 
them how electricity could go about a house gifted with the 
cunning of a fiend. " It is true," said Dan, " that light- 
ning often sets fire to houses and barns, but it has never yet 
been known to roam about a man's house, as this strange 
power does. And as Esther can hear it speak, and it does 
whatever it says it will, why I believe it to be a ghost, or else 
the devil." While Olive was churning in the kitchen one 
morning about three days after the fire under the bed, 
she noticed smoke coming from the cellar. Esther was 
seated in the dining room when Olive first saw the smoke, 
aad had been seated there for the last hour, previous to 
which she had been in the kitchen assisting her sister to 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



41 



wash the breakfast dishes as was her custom. On seeing 
the smoke, both she and Esther were for the moment utterly 
paralyzed with fear. What they so dreaded had at last 
come to pass. The house was evidently on fire, and that 
fire set by a devilish ghost. What was to be done? Olive- 
was the first to recover from the shock. Seizing the bucket 
of drinking water, always kept standing on the kitchen 
table, she rushed down the cellar stairs, and was horrified at 
the sight which burst upon her view. There in the far 
corner of the cellar was a barrel of shavings blazing 
almost to the fioor above. In the meantime Esther had' 
reached the cellar, and stood looking at the crackling flames 
in blank astonishment. The water Olive had poured into 
the barrel was not enough to quench the flames, for in the 
excitement of the moment she had spilled niore than half 
of it on her way down. What was to be done ? The house 
would catch and probably be burned to the ground, and 
they would be rendered homeless. 

" Oh ! if Dan were at home, he could put it out," Olive- 
managed to articulate, for both she and Esther were nearly 
suflbcated with the dense black smoke with which the 
cellar was filled, and now the barrel itself had caught. The 
cellar was very small, and everything in it would soon be 
blazing unless the fire could be extinguished at once. 

"Oh! what shall we do," cried Esther, "what shall we- 

do r 

" Run out in the street and cry fire as loud as you can- 
Come, let's run at once or the whole house will burn down," 
exclaimed Olive, by this time wild with fear. 

So, both she and Esther ran up stairs and out into the 
street, crying "fire! fifei!" Of course their cries arousedl 
the whole neighborhood. At the moment a gentleman, a 
stranger in the village, who happened to be passing,, 
instantly threw oflf his coat, rushed into the cottage,. 



ft 



4? 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



1 

ll 



I '■ 



picked up a mat from the dining room floor, and was down 
in the cellar in a second. He put the fire entirely out, and 
then, without waiting to be thanked, walked out of the 
cottage and was soon lost to view in the distance ; and, what 
is remarkably strange, nobody knows who he was or whence 
he came, for from that day he has not been seen. 

The news of the fire which the ghost had set in Dan's 
cellar soon travelled all over the c mtry and created a great 
tleal of curiosity. People who had set the whole affair down 
as a fraud began to think that perhaps it was all true after 
all, for certainly no young girl could set fire to a barrel of 
shavings in the cellar and be at that instant in another part 
of the house, under the watchful eye of an older sister, who 
was continually at her side. The fact that both the little 
boys were out in the front yard at the time the fire was 
kindled, and consequently could not have had anything to 
do with setting it, was also calculated to throw an air of 
mystery around the whole affair. 

The family believed that it had been started by the ghost. 
The fire marshals of the village seemed to be of the 
opinion that Esther set both fires herself; the villagers 
held vaiious opinions. Dr. Nathan Tupper, suggested that 
if a good raw hide whip were laid over her back by a 
strong arm, the manifestations would cease at once. 
Fortunately for Esther, no one had the right or power to 
beat her as ii she were a slave, and so the mystery still re- 
mained unsolved. 

For the next week manifestations continued to take 
place daily and were as powerful as ever. The excitement 
in Amherst was intense. If the cottage in which Dan 
lived should catch fire when the wind was blowing from the 
bay, the fire would spread, and if the wind was favorable 
for such a terrible calamity, the whole village would spon 
he reduced to ashes. 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



43 



As if to pile horror upon horror, one night, as Esther and 
the entire family were seated in the parlor, the ghost ap- 
peared. Esther started to her feet and seemed for the 
moment paralyzed with terror. In a second or two, how- 
ever, she recovered her self-possession, and pointing with a 
trembling hand to a distant corner of the room, exclaimed 
in a hoarse and broken voice : 

" Look there ! Look there I My God, it is the ghost ! 
Don't you all see him ? There he stands all in grey ; see 
how his eyes are glaring at mej|and he laughs when he 
says I must leave the house to-night or he will start a fire 
in the loft under the roof and burn us all to death. Oh, 
what shall I do, where shall I go* the ground is covered 
with snow — and yet I cannot remain here, for he \\iill do 
what he threatens ; he always does." 

" Oh, I wish I were dead." After this exclamation, she 
fell to the floor and burst into an agony of grief. " Well," 
said Dan, after lifting her up, " Something will have to be 
done, and quickly, too. The wind is blowing hard to-night, 
and. if the ghost does as he threatens, the fhDuse will burn 
down sure, and perhaps the whole village. You must go, 
Esther. Remember, I don't turn you out ; it is this devil 
of a ghost who drives you from your home." 

They all knew none of the neighboi-s would shelter 
Esther, because they all feared the ghost. What was to be 
done ? Heaven only knew. It suddenly occurred to Dan 
that John White would perhaps give her shelter, for he had 
always taken a deep interest in the manifestations, and had 
often expressed pity for the unhappy girl. So Dan, after 
putting on his heavy coat — for it v^cts snowing fast, and 
the night was intensely cold — went to White's house. 
After knocking for some time, the door was opened by John 
White himself. He looked at Dan a moment in amazement, 
and then exclaimed in an inquiring tone : 



44 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 



" What's the matter, Teed ? Has the house burned to the 
ground or has the girl burst all to pieces ?" 

Dan explained his mission in a few words. When he 
had finished, White thought a moment, and then said : 

" Wait until I ask my wife ; if she says yes, all right, 
you may bring her here to-night." He asked his wife, and 
fortunately for the miserable girl, she said " yes," and that 
very night Esther Cox changed her home. 



m 



mmk 







1 1 . 1'lMi 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE WALKING OF THE GHOST. 

When John White took Esther to his house to reside, he 
performed a charitable deed, which no man in the village 
but himself had the heart to do. Both he and his good 
wife showed, by the kindness with which they treated the 
poor unhappy girl, that Heaven had at least inspired two 
hearts with" that greatest of all virtues — Charity. 

It was now January, 1879, — just four months since the 
manifestations first commenced. Esther had been at White's 
residence for two weeks, and had not seen anything of the 
ghost. She had improved very much in that short time, 
her nervousness having almost subsided, and she was con- 
tented and happy. Mrs. White, who found her of great 
assistance in the house, had become much attached to the 
girl, and treated her with the same kindness that she did 
her own children. 

Towards the end of the third week her old enemy — the 
ghost — returned. 

While Esther was scrubbing the hall at her new home, 
she was astonished to see her scrubbing brush disappear 
from her hand. When the ghost told her that he had 
taken it, she became much alarmed and screamed for Mrs. 
White, who, with her daughter Maiy, searched the hall for it 
in vain. After they had abandoned their search, to the 
great astonishment of all, the brush fell from the ceiling — 
just grazing Esther's head in its fall. Here was a new 
manifestation of the ghostly power. He was able to take 
a solid substance from this material world of ours, and ren- 
der it invisible by taking it into his mysterious state of 
existence ; and, if he could take one object why not ano- 
ther ; if a brush, why not a broom ? But why speculate 



40 



THE WALKING OF THE GHOST. 



-!li:!i!i 



on so great a mystery? The ghost did it, and as we must 
draw the line somewhere, it is better to draw it here than 
to allow our minds to become dazed by such fellows as 
ghosts. Many other remarkable manifestations continued 
to take place almost daily for the next two weeks. The 
ghost could now tell how much money people had in their 
pockets, both by knocking and by telling Esther. He would 
answer any question asked in the above mentioned manner, 
and behaved himself very well indeed until the end of the 
sixth week, when his true devilish nature broke out again. 
He commenced setting fires about the house, and walking 
so that he could be heard distinctly. Of course John White 
would not run the risk of having his house burned down. 
So he persuaded Esther to remain during the day in his 
dining saloon, which stands opposite the well known book 
store of G. G. Bird, on the principal street. 

While standing behind the counter in the dining saloon^ 
also while she worked in the adjoining kitchen, many new 
and wonderful things were witnessed by the inhabitants of 
Amherst and by strangers from a distance, and man3'- plans 
were tried to prevent the manifestations. Among others, 
some one suggested that if she could stand on glass they 
would cease. So pieces of glass were put into her shoes, 
but as their presence caused her head to ache and her 
nose to bleed, without stopping the manifestations, the idea 
was abandoned. 

One morning the door of the large stove in the kitchen 
adjoining the saloon was opened and shut by the ghost, 
much to the annoyance of Mr. White, who with an old 
axe handle so braced the door that it could not be 
moved by any known mundane power, unless the axe 
handle was first removed. A moment afterwards, how- 
ever, the ghost, who seemed never to leave Esther's pre- 
sence while she was in the saloon, lifted the door off ita 






THE WALKING OF THE GHOST. 



47 



hinges, removed the axe handle from the position in 
which it had been placed, and, after throwing^ them somo 
distance into the air, let both fall to the floor with a tre-^ 
mendous crash. Mr. White was speechless with astonish-^ 
jnent, and immediately called in Mr. W. H. Ro-sjers, In- 
spector of Fisheries for Nova Scotia. After bracing the 
door as before, the same wonderful manifestation was re^ 
peated, in the presence of Mr. Rogers. On another occasion, 
a clasp-knife belonging to little Fred, Mr. White's son, wa.s 
taken from his hand by the ghost, who instantly stabbed 
Esther in the back with it, leaving the knife sticking in tho 
wound, which bled profusely. Fred, after drawing tho 
knife from the wound, wiped it, closed it and put it in his 
pocket. The ghost took it from his pocket, and in a second 
stuck it in the same wound. Fred again obtained posses-, 
sion of the knife, and this time hid it so that it could not 
be found, even by a ghost. 

There is something still more remarkable, however, about 
the following manifestation : Some person tried tho experi- 
ment of placing three or four large iron spikes on Esther's, 
lap while she was seated in the Dining Saloon. To tho 
astonishment of everybody, the spikes were not removed by 
the ghost, but instead, became too hot to be handled with 
comfort, and a second afterwards were thrown by the ghost 
to the far end of the saloon, a distance of twenty feet. 

During her stay at the saloon the ghost commenced to 
move the furniture about in the broad daylight. On one 
occasion a large box, weighing fifty pounds, moved was a dis- 
tance of fifteen feet without the slightest visible cause. 
The very loud knocking commenced again and was iieard 
by crowds of people, the saloon being continually filled with 
visitors. Among other well known inhabitants of Amherst 
who saw the wonders at this p riod, I may mention William 
Hillson, Daniel Morrison, Robt. Hutchinson, who is Jolm 



48 



THE WALKING OF THE GHOST. 



! 




'Ipfl 



i;!.iir!i 



'L . i',1 



White's son-in-law, and J. Albert Black, Esq., editor of the 
Amherst Gazette. 

Towards the latter part of March, Esther went to Saint 
John, Now Brunswick, and while there was the guest 
of Captain James Beck, and remained at his house for three 
weeks under the protection of his wife. Her case was in- 
. vestigated by a party of gentlemen, well known in Saint 
John as men whose minds have a scientific turn. Doctor 
Alward, Mr. Amos Fales, Mr. Alex. Christie, Mr. Ritchie, 
and many others witnessed the manifestations, and talked 
with the ghost by the aid of the knocks on the wall and 
furniture, and, stranoje to relate, other ghosts came and con- 
versed also ; among them one who said his name was Peter 
Cox, and another who gave the name of Maggie Fisher. All 
claimed to have lived on the earth before they entered the 
land of ghosts, but none were apparently as strong and 
healthy as the old original fire fiend of the cottage, who 
now gave the name of Bob Niekle, and said that when he 
AWed on the earth he had been a shoemaker. The ghost 
"who called himself Peter Cox, claimed to be a relation of 
Esther's, and said he had been m ghost land about forty 
years; he was a quiet old fellow, and did all he could to 
prevent Bob Niekle and Maggie Fisher from breaking the 
articles which they threw, and from using profane langu- 
age, a habit in which they were fond of indulging. 

Dr. Alward and his scientific friends also conversed with 
the ghosts by calling over the alphabet, the ghosts knock- 
ing at the correct letters, and in that way long communica- 
tions were spelled out to the satisfaction of those present. 

After remaining in Saint John about three weeks. Esther 
.returned to Amherst, and accepted an invitation to visit 
Mr. and Mrs. Van Amburgh, who reside about three miles 
from the village. She remained eight weeks with them, 
^luring which period the ghosts allowed her to enjoy the calm 



THE WALKING OF THE GHOST. 



40 



r of the 

to Saint 
le guest 
or three 
was in- 
in Saint 
Doctor 
Ritchie, 
i talked 
vail and 
and con- 
as Peter 
ler. All 
ered the 
ong and 
age, who 
when he 
'he ghost 
elation of 
)ut forty 
could to 
tking the 
le langu- 



repose of a life In the woods, the Van Amburgh farm being 
literally situated in tho woods. 

At the expiration of the eighth week she returned to 
Amhei-st, and wont back to Dan's cottage to reside, being 
employed during tho day in White s Dining Saloon. The 
manifestations soon commenced again, and wore as power- 
ful as when tho author commenced his investigation of 
the case. 



c<p^e»' 




«3^> 



; I 



sed with 
s knock- 
nmunica- 
)resent. 
:s. Esther 
1 to visit 
ree miles 
ith them, 
' the calm 



n 



.1:' 



CJ 



itai 




CHAPTER V. 

THE AUTHOU AND THE GHOSTS. 

I cloHod my ongagoinent with tlie Dramatic Coiiiimny of 
which I was a member, in Ncwfoundljirnl, and wont to 
Amherst to oxposo, if possible, Estho;* Cox, the great Am- 
licrst Mystery. 

Where occasion reiiuircs aUnsion to myself, I shall simply 
say the author. 

At seven o'clock on the mornin^y of June 21st, 1879, as 
the sun was shining brightly, and the cool breeze was blow- 
ing from the bay, the author enteri.'d the haunted house. 
After placing his umbrella in a corner of the dining room, 
and his satchel on the table, he scat<3d himself in one of the 
easy chairs to await results. Esther and Olive were present. 
He had been in the room about five minutes when, to his 
great astonishment, his umbrella was thrown a distance of 
fifteen feet, going over his head in its flight. At the same 
instant a large carving knife came jumping over the girl's 
head, and fell near him. Not at all pleased with this kind 
of a reception on the part of the ghosts, he left the room and 
went into the parlor, taking his satchel with him, and there 
sat down paralyzed with wonder and astonishment. He had 
ho had been seated only a momemt when his satchel wm 
thrown a distance of ten feet. At the same instant a large 
chair came flying across the room striking the one on which 
he was seated, nearly knocking it from under him. It 
uddenly occurred to him that he would take a walk, during 
which he could admire the beauties of the village. 

On his return to the cottage, the ghosts commenced their 
deviltry again with redoubled violence. He had no sooner 
entered the house than all the chairs in the parlor — 
and there were sevQn by actual Qount— fell over. Conclud- 



THE AUTUOK AKD TH£ 0H08TH. 



51 



my of 
iwt to 

b Am- 

iiniply 

S71), as 
I ]>low- 
hou«o. 
; room, 
; of the 
)vcsent. 
, to bis 
,ancc of 
lO same 
lO girl'a 
lis kind 
loin and 
id t]icro 
He had 
ill el WS.S 
i a large 
n whi'jh 
im. It 
, during 

cd their 
sooner 
parlor — 
;^onclud- 



ing not to remain in that room, he went to the tlining room, 
when the chaiis in that, his favorite room in every house, 
went through the same performance. Feeling hungry, not 
yet having had his breakfast, he sat down to a go6d substan- 
tial meal, Esther sitting directly opposite. After ponritig 
out his coffee, she handed it to him with the remark, •' Oh, 
you will soon get used to them ; I don't think they like 
you." " No," he replied, " I do !:ot think they do either. In 
fact, I am satisfied they do not ; but, having come hero to 
investigate, I shall remain until they drive me from the 
house." While eating breakfast the "[hosts commenced to 
hammer on the table. By the system in use by the family 
when conversing with them, he carried on a long conversa- 
tion, they answering by knocks on the bottom of the table. 
Before entering into the conversation, however, he sat so 
that Esther's hands and feet were in full view. The ghosts 
told the number of his watch, also the dates of coina in his 
pocket, and beat correct time when he whistled the tdne df 
"Yankee Doodle." Chairs continued to fall' tivcr^ lifrtll 
dinner, during which there was a slight cassation of -marti- 
festations. < niifl'n.i i ».itA 

After dinner, the author lay down upon the parlor 8rtfa 
to take a nap, as is his custom in the afternoon. 
Esther came into the room for a newspaper. He Watched 
her very closely, keeping one eye open and the ofte' ne^t 
her shut, so that she would think he was asleep. While 
watching her intently to see that she did not throw -arty- 
thing herself, a large glass paper weight, weighing fully a 
pound, came whizzing through the air from the ffttr -comer 
of the room, where it had been on a shelf, a distance' tif 
fully fifteen feet from the sofa. Fortunately foi' the kuihor, 
instead of striking his head, which was evidently the in- 
tenion of the ghost who threw it, it struck the arm of the 
sofa with great force, rebounding to a chair, upOn Which 



i 



I 



32 



Tfil; AUTHOR AND THE GHOSTS. 



■■ i 




1! 



it remained after it had spun around for a second or two. 
Being very anxious to witness the manifestations, he re- 
quested Eisther to remain in the room, which she did. 
After seating herself in the rocking chair, little George 
came into the room, when she placed the little fellow 
on her lap and sang to him. As the author lay there 
watching her, one of the child's copper-toed shoes was 
taken off by a ghost and thrown at him with great 
force, striking his head. The place struck was very 
sore, for thi-ee or four days. The balance of the day 
passed quietly away. Evening came, and the author had a 
good night's rest in the haunted house of which he had 
heard so much. The next day being Sunday, everything 
was peaceful in the cottage, though why the ghosts should 
respect the Sabbath the author has never been able to 
ascertain ; however they always remain quiet on that day. 
On Monday morning the ghosts commenced their mad 
pranks again, and seemed ready for anything. At break- 
fast, the lid of the stone-china sugar bowl disappeared from 
the table, and, in about ten minutes, fell from the ceiling, 
^.iter breakfast; overwent the table; then the chairs all fell 
over, and several large mats were pitched about the room. 
The author immediately left the loom and went into 
the parlor, when, to his astonishment, a flower pot con- 
taining a large plant in full bloom was taken from its 
place in the bay window and set down in the middle 
of the room and a large tin can filled with water was 
brought from the kitchen and placed be-side it. Dur- 
ing the afternoon £ large inkstand and two empt^'" 
bottles were thrown at him. The ghosts also undresseu 
little George, and, as if to make a final climax to the day's 
performance, Bob, the head ghost, started a small lx)n-fire 
up stairs, and he and the other ghosts piled all the 
chairs m the parlor one on top cf the other, until they 



■^ 



THE AUTHOR AND THE GHOST^i 



53 



or two. 
b, he re- 
sile did. 

George 
3 fellow 
ly there 
oes was 
th great 
as very 
the day 
or had a 

he had 
erything 
,s should 

able to 
hat day. 
eir mad 
b break - 
•ed from 

ceiling. 
[■s all fell 
le room, 
nt into 
pot con- 
"roin its 

middle 
tter was 
Dur- 
empt''^ 
idresseu 
he day's 
lx)n-fire 

all the 
til the}' 



made a pile about six feet in height, when, as if in wSport, 
they pulled out those underneath, letting all the others 
fall to the floor with a crash. 

On Tuesday morning when the author took his seat at 
the breakfast table, he placed the sugar bowl lid beside his 
plate, so that he might have his eyes on it. In a second it 
disappeared and fell, in exactly eight minutes by the clock, 
from the ceiling, a distance of fully twenty feet from the 
table. The ghosts got under the table, as on the previous 
morning, and were so obliging as to produce any sounds 
called for, such as an exact imitation of the sawing of wood, 
of drumming and of washing on a wash board. During the 
morning several knives were thrown at him ; a large crock 
of salt was taken from the kitchen dresser and placed on 
the dining room table ; the tea kettle was taken from the 
stove by one of the ghosts and placed out in the yard, 
as was also the beefsteak, pan and all, which was frying on 
the stove ; and, after dinner, the table was upset. During 
the afternoon, while in the parlor, the author made the ac- 
quaintance of all the ghosts, — Bob Nickle, the chief ghost ; 
Maggie Fisher, another ghost almost as bad as Bob ; Peter 
Cox, a quiet old fellow of very little use at* a ghost, because 
he never tries to break chairs, etc. ; Mary Fisher, (who says 
she is Maggie's sister) Jane Nickle and Eliza McNeal. The 
three last are " no good" as ghosts, as all they do is stalk 
about the house and occasionally upset something. As 
there are only six ghosts all told, and they were all present, 
the author asked them numerous questions, all of which were 
answered by loud knocks on the floor or on the wall, just 
as he requested — all seeming anxious to converse. The 
first question the author asked was : 

" Have you all lived on the earth ?" 

A.—" Yes." 

Q.— " Have you seen God ?" 



54 



THE AUTHOR AND THE GHOSTS- 



\b 









A.—" No." 

Q. — " Are you in heaven ?" 

A.—" No." 

Q.— " Are you in hell ?" 

A.—" Yes." 

Q. — " Have you seen the devil ?" 

A. — veiy loud — " Yes." 

Many other questions were answered, but the answers 
are not worth repeating. 

At the conclusion of the interview, one of the ghosts threw 
the author's bottle of ink from the table to the floor, spill- 
ing the contents on the carpet. 

The next day as the author and Esther were entering the 
parlor, both saw a chair fall over and instantly jump up 
again. Neither the author nor Esther were within five feet 
of the chair at the time. 

During the whole of the next day the ghosts stuck pins 
into Esther's person. These pins appeared to come out of 
the air, and the author pulled about thirty from various parts 
of her body during the day. In the afternoon the family 
cat was thrown a distance of five feet by owe of the ghosts, 
and almost had a fit from fright. She reniained in the yard 
for the balance of the day, and ever afterwards while in the 
house seemed to be on the lookout for ghosts ; possibly she 
saw and heard them on several occasions afterwards, for her 
tail often became quite large, as cats' tails always do when 
they are frightened or angry, after which she would leave 
the house in a hurry. The author saw Esther coming down 
stairs late in the afternoon, and when she had reached the 
hall a chair from his room came down after her. The only 
other person in the cottage at the time was Olive, and she 
was at that instant in the kitchen. 

On June 2Cth, two or three matches fell from the ceiling 
at the author's feet. Being a great smoker, he requested 



THE AUTHOR AND THE GHOSTS. 



00 



answers 



the ghosts to throw down a few more, which they did. He 
would simply say, " Bob, I would like a few matches, if you 
please." When down they would come from the ceiling. 
Forty -five were thrown during the day, and on another day 
during the afternoon forty -nine fell to the floor. 

It must be remembered that all the manifestations wit- 
nessed by the author took place in the broad light of day, 
and that the only other persons present were the various 
members of the family. 

On June 28th, the sound of a trumpet was heard by the 
autlior and all the family. It continued to be blown about 
the house from early morning until late in the evening. The 
sound was very distinct and was at times close to their ears. 
Late in the evening " Bob " let the trumpet fall in one of the 
I'ooms. It is composed of some metal very similar to Ger- 
man silver, and is now in the possession of the author, who 
intends to place it in a museum on his return to the United 
States. Where the ghosts got it no one knows. It had 
never been seen in Amherst, so far as has been ascertain- 
able, until it fell upon the floor, and its true origin will 
doubtless always remain a mystery, 

It is hardly necessary that the author should weary the 
reader with a minute account of the manifestations pro- 
duced by these ghosts during his residence of six weeks in 
the haunted house, he could easily fill a book containing 
twice the number of pages that this one does, with an 
account of what was done by the ghosts alone, without 
mentioning the name of a single living individual except 
Esther Cox; but I suppose the reader, by this time, is 
ready to cry " qimntui.o sufjicit." So by referring to a few 
more facts, he will end this chapter. 

One afternoon, while Esther was out walking, she called 
on Rev. R. A. Temple. During the visit he prayed with 
her, and also advised her to pray for herself. On her re- 



m 



56 



THE AUTHOR AND THE GHOSTS. 



Ifii! 



ii.ii 



turn to the cottage, one of the ghosts, either Bob or Maggie, 
cut her on the head with an old bone from the yard, and a 
moment afterwards stabbed her in the face with a fork. 

While the author lived in the house, scarcely a day 
passed that some article was not thrown by the ghosts. 
They would often steal small articles and keep them secreted 
— Heavens only knows where — for days at a time, and 
then unexpectedly let then fall in one of the rooms, to 
the amazement of every one. In that way, shoes and stock- 
ings, knives, forks and other articles too numerous to 
mention would be missed, sometimes for weeks, and on one 
occasion some copper coins were taken from Dan's pocket 
and placed upon the author's knee. 

It was a common thing for the ghosts to throw knives at 
the author, but fortunately they were all dull and he was 
never cut ; ho was, however, often struck by small articles, 
never sufficiently hard, however, to draw blood. During his 
stay in the house, Esther often went into a state very similar 
to the mesmeric sleep, during which she talked with people 
invisible to all present; among others, her dead mother. 
On coming out of this strange state she always said she 
had been to heaven among the angels. 

On several occasions, Bob, the head ghost, tormented liei" 
so at night that it was with difficulty she could remain in 
bed. On one particular occasion the author was called up 
by Dan at midnight so that he might behold for himself 
what was going on. After dressing, he went into Esther's 
room, and was horrified by the sight which met his gaze. 
There, upon the bed, lay the poor, unhappy girl swollen to 
an enormous size, her body moving about the bed as if 
Beelzebub himself were in her, while between her gasps for 
breath she exclaimed in agonizing sobs : " Oh, my God, I 
wish I were dead ! I wish I were dead ! 

" Oh, don't say ihht, Esther," plead Olive, " don't say that." 



I 



^m 



THE AUTHOR AND THE GHOSTS. 



57 



" Now, Mr. Hubbell," said Jane to the author, " you see 
how much she suffers." 

"Yes, I see," said Hubbell, "but let us endeavor to hold her, 
so that this fiend cannot move her about the bed, and then, 
perhaps, she will not suffer so much." So Dan and himself 
tried to hold her so that she could not be moved, but in vain. 

" Well," said Hubbell, " one ghost is certainly stronger 
than two men. Are you sure nothing can be done to relieve 
her r 

" No," replied Olive, " Dr. Caritte has tried everything 
without affording her the slightest relief Medicine has no 
more effect on her than water." 

Jane, Olive, Dan and the author remained up -with her 
for about three hours, during which time she continued to 
move about the bed, after which the ghost left her and she 
sank from sheer exhaustion into a state of lethargy. She 
had several attacks of this kind during the author's resid- 
ence in the cottage, and on one occasion she was seen by Mr. 
G. G. Bird, Mr. Jas. P. Dunlap, Mr. Amos Purdy and several 
ladies; on another occasion by Dr. E. D. McLean, Mr. 
Fowler and Mr. Sleep. 

Towards the latter part of Julj'- the manifestations be- 
came so powerful that it was no longer safe to have Esther 
in the house. Fires were continually being started, the 
walls were being broken by chairs, the bed clothes pulled 
off in the day time, heavy sofas turned upside down, knives 
and forks thrown with such force that they would stick into 
doors, food disappeared from the table, finger marks became 
visible in the butter, and, worse than all, strange voices 
could be heard calling the inmates ^by name in the broad 
light of day. This was too much ; if the ghosts continued 
to gain in strength they would take possession of the house 
and all in it, for there were six ghosts, and only five persons 
in the flesh all told, as follows : Dan, Olive, Jane, Esther 



M 



58 



THE AUTHOR AND THE GHOSTS. 



and the author, not, of course, counting the two chiMrcn— 
William Cox and John Teed having left the house before 
Esther went to St. John, literally driven away by ghosts. 

There was but one remedy, and that was that Esther Cox 
should leave the house even though her sisters loved hev 
dearly. Simple hearted village maiden ! Fate decrecil that 
she should be torn from their home, but not from their lioarts 
for the simple reason that her room was far more agreeable 
than her company. 

So one morning, after packing up all her worldly poss;ess- 
ions, she kissed the little boys, embraced her sisters, shook 
hands with the rest, bade them all farewell, and drparted 
never to return. 



'il i 






:rcn — 
before 
osts. 
er Cox 
0(1 her 
Oil that 
r hearts 
Tceablc 



s, si look 
Irparted 



CHAPTER V^I. 



CONCLUSION. 



Esther is living with her friends the Van Amburgh's, 
^n their farm in the woods. The ghosts do not torment 
her now. With the Van Amburghs she has a quiet, peaceful 
home. One thing is certain, if she returned to Dan's cottage 
manifestations would, in a short time, become as powerful 
as ever, and Heaven only knows where the matter would end. 

The author went to see her at the farm, 6n August 1st, 
1879, and found her making a patch- work quilt, on which 
she stopped working every few minutes to play >Vith the 
little children. She informed him that she read her Bible 
regularly every day, and was contented and happy. Be 
JEore departing he advised her to pray earnestly that she 
might neVei" again, be possessed by devils. She promised 
to take his advice. So hoping that her prayers would be 
answered, he bade her farewell forever 

Ih Dan^s little cottage all is now harmony and peace- 
Pretty Jane still tends her plants with loving care. Olive 
Works as hard as ever, and so does honest Dan. And there 
tnay they reside for years to come, enjoying the blessings 
which the virtuous alwavs receive from the hands of Provi- 
dence. 

ft 

Reader, a word. This account of the " Haunted House," 
in which Esther Cox suiTered so much, and the author had 
such a remarkable experience, is no fanciful creation of the 
imagination, but really what it is claimed to be, — " A True 
Ghost Story."